Court stoush with council over rising sea level problems

A JUDGE will have to evaluate whether rising sea levels from global warming could place parts of a proposed caneland development under water in the future as Stockland Development begins its courtroom stoush with Sunshine Coast Council.

Judge Michael Rackemann must also assess visual amenity issues relating to views from the Sunshine Motorway, flora, fauna, noise, storm water drainage and other floodplain issues at the proposed site.

The site is west of the existing Twin Waters development and the Maroochy River Conservation park - bound by the Sunshine Motorway and Godfreys Road to the west, David Low Way to the north and other freehold land fronting Maroochy River to the south.

The Sunshine Coast council refused Stockland's material change of use application in 2009, arguing the proposal was for urban activity on rural land and that site had been identified as "good quality agricultural land".

The council also claimed it was a floodplain and there were not adequate provisions for protecting residents from flood risk, among other reasons.

Stockland is appealing that decision, arguing the development was within the urban footprint under both the 2005 and 2009 South-East Queensland Regional Plan.

Barrister Daniel Gore QC told Brisbane Planning and Environment Court on Monday that the land had been cleared for sugar cane production but had not even been used for that purpose for a decade.

He said the land parcel picked up only a small part of the sustainable caneland areas with most "left untouched"

.Mr Gore, speaking about flora and fauna concerns, said 46% of the habitat would be protected or rehabilitated.

He said his client's visual amenity expert believed his proposal at the site would "project an attractive image to motorists travelling along the Sunshine Motorway" rather than remove green inter-urban break.

Mr Gore said Stockland believed most of the issues were "no longer" and the case had "ended up where it started".

"So we've spent years dealing with issues that weren't issues from the start," he said.

The council received about 900 submissions about the development, mostly from residents at Twin Waters mixed with some from Pacific Paradise, Mudjimba, Bli Bli and Coolum.The hearing is listed for 10 days.

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